Jim Cirillo wasn’t looking for action.
He took the NYPD “stakeout job” to curb the city’s rampant murder rate because a friend of his told him it was completely safe and a “cush job”.
But 2.5 hours into his first shift, he was slinging lead with 3 armed gunmen in a store, shooting one in the head and wounding the other two as they fled the store.
All in all over the years, Cirillo was forced to kill at least 11 men in the course of more than 20 gunfights during about 250 stakout jobs conducted by his unit’s 40-cop special team.
Cirillo had a lot to say about the realities of a real attack and…
Here Are 3 “Confessions” Of Jim Cirillo –
1, “Techniques” Go Out The Window
Cirillo was an expert marksman and a real “gun guru” before his sudden realization of gunfight realities.
One of his biggest realizations was that the “techniques” he had been so trained in: stance… gun presentation… sight picture… all fell to the wayside when you have a real person shooting back at you vs. a paper target that just took your shots without a fight.
Lesson: Seek out force-on-force training opportunities where you’re facing a live training “attacker”. Use safe training aids such as dry-fire, airsoft or SIRT pistols to create your own scenarios.
2. Sight Picture Destroys Decision-Making
Cirillo once said, “In law enforcement, your problem isn’t at your front sight, it’s in the background.”
He continued, “As a police officer, you’re obligated to make sure that the person you’re shooting is the one you should be shooting. If you’re looking at your front sight you can’t see that some poor guy is pulling a black wallet out of his back pocket—you think he’s pulling out a gun.”
In today’s legal climate, you can’t let God sort ‘em out… a jury will be looking at your actions and it’s biologically impossible to focus on both your front sight AND the actions of the threat in front of you.
Lesson: Focus on your attacker and responding to the threat. Your front-sight won’t be a factor in a close-quarters gunfight.
3. “Subconscious Shooting” Will Rule
In an adrenalized state, you won’t have access to the same logical, controlled response tactics that work so well at the range.
When the bullets are flying, your in-grained training will happen without thinking.
That’s a good thing for you because it means that all the training you do BEFORE an attack will automatically be there when you need it.
The bad news is that, if your training is the typical “marksmanship” style training done down at the range, your training ISN’T aligned with what happens in a real life-or-death attack.
Lesson: Training counts… but it has to be the RIGHT training to come to your rescue when you need it. Since most real gunfights happen less than 9’ away, your training should focus primarily on close-quarter tactics rather than the typical range training distances.